2014 Theses Master's
Building Freedom’s Frontier in Northeast Asia
Following World War II, a power struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States divided the world into a state of bipolarity, with the United States continuing its adherence to democracy and the Soviet Union spreading communism. In order to contain and prevent the expansion of communism, despite the uncertainty of success and South Korean President Syngman Rhee’s ineffective policies, the United States audaciously helped nation-build South Korea after the Korean War from 1954-1960. For this case study, I will use historical data and academic publications in my efforts to analyze the events that led to the United States’ decision to provide South Korea with unconditional aid to boost its postwar economy in its efforts to stave off the spread of communism in the region. I will utilize Balance of Power theory to support my argument. Moreover, I will attempt to answer the question that scholars and experts alike ceaselessly deliberate: “Why do states do what they do?” and “What causes conflict and cooperation among states?” In short, I will strive to give the readers a better understanding as to why states do what they do – in this case, the United States’ decision to nation-build South Korea against all odds.
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